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Hungary’s parliament on Tuesday passed a law banning the “promotion” of homosexuality to minors in what critics have slammed as a crackdown on LGBTQ rights.
The law is the latest in a series of measures under right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government it says are aimed at fighting paedophilia and protecting children.
But critics claim the law which effectively bans educational programmes and publicity of LGBTQ groups would “severely restrict” freedom of expression and children’s rights.
More than 5,000 people rallied outside parliament on Monday against the legislation, which LGBTQ groups have compared to similar legislation in Russia.
The law passed with 157 votes in favour and one vote against in the parliament controlled by Orban’s Fidesz party.
The opposition boycotted the vote except for lawmakers from the nationalist Jobbik party who supported the law.
In recent years, Orban, who has ruled Hungary since 2010, has enacted a socially conservative policy agenda, shaping the EU member into what he calls a bastion against liberal ideologies.
Last December, parliament adopted a package of measures enshrining what is seen as the traditional family, effectively banning adoption by same-sex couples.
In May 2020, a ban on legally changing one’s gender came into force, with rights groups warning this would expose transgender Hungarians to discrimination.
In 2018 a government decree effectively banned universities from teaching courses on gender studies.
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